To kill a mocking bird or that dummy book hippy said .
Geez ! So many ! Always loved this one ! This other one is almost as good ! Great reads!
It's a very personal judgement, isn't it, Charles?
Let's rule out anything Shakespeare wrote, right at the beginning. Why? They're just a collection of old clichés! I mean, "All that glitters is not gold," or "Dead as a doornail," or "Truth will out" have been done to death. Couldn't he have come up with something original?
We'd have to rule out the Bible, too. It's far too violent and would frighten kids to death. It's all about a malevolent God who sent plagues on Egypt, who destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, who chucked a wobbly and flooded the entire planet, and who then demands that we all love him or we'll burn in Hell forever. Scary stuff.
Somebody once asked Sam Clemens (Mark Twain) how he'd compare his work to that of the great writers and he said, "Their work is like fine wine and compared to that my work is only like water." Then I can imagine that he grinned before adding, "But everybody drinks water." So if Sam won't claim greatness for himself I can't foist it on him, even though we can all agree he deserves it."
So your old Uncle Didge's nomination for the greatest book ever written? The Collected Works of Hans Christian Anderson. His stories have delighted children for almost 200 years and have undoubtedly influenced the values we accepted as adults.
"Going Postal" by Terry Pratchett
One of the best books I've ever read - Five Smooth Stones by Ann Fairbairn.